CW: Light postings today & in the near future. I'm veddy, veddy busy. I'll do my best, but "best" won't be optimal.
They Have No Shame. Jeremy Peters of the New York Times: "The House voted Wednesday to hold in contempt Lois Lerner, a former Internal Revenue Service official who is the focus of multiple investigations into whether the agency targeted President Obama's opponents. The vote gives a politically charged issue new prominence in an election year. In a contentious debate before the vote, Republicans made allegations of a Watergate-style inside job to cover up high crimes that helped steal a presidential election. Democrats invoked former Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and delusions of widespread conspiracy." ...
... Peter Sullivan of the Hill: "Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said the special committee he'll lead on Benghazi could continue into the 2016 campaign, when Hillary Clinton might be running for the White House. Asked about that possibility Wednesday on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe,' Gowdy said the length of his work would depend on the administration's level of cooperation.... Some Democrats suspect Republicans want to keep Benghazi in the news to try to hurt Clinton if she runs for the White House in 2016, as expected. " CW: "Some Democrats"? How about "every sentient political observer"? ...
... Dan Merica of CNN: "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she is 'absolutely' satisfied with what she knows about the Benghazi terror attack, and cast doubt on the intentions of House Republicans spearheading a select committee to investigate it."
... They Got Nothin'. Ed Kilgore: "All along, the underlying GOP J'Accuse! seems to be that the administration was ignoring an upsurge of al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist violence, the relative absence of which since then would seem to be a show-trial-stopper if the inquisitors hadn't already moved along to second- and third-order questions about who 'covered up' what when." ...
... USA Today Editors: "After 13 inquiries, a select committee on Benghazi hardly seems the best way for Congress to spend its time." ...
... Even Tuck Chodd agrees "It looks like nothing more than a partisan stunt":
... Olivia Kittel, et al., of Media Matters answer anew "The Already Asked-And-Answered Questions Fox Wants To Know From The Benghazi Select Committee." Useful, if you need to counter your Foxbot brother-in-law.
ObamaCare Aversion Syndrome, Ctd. Robert Pear of the New York Times: "House Republicans summoned a half-dozen health insurance executives to a hearing Wednesday envisioned as another forum for criticism of the Affordable Care Act. But insurers refused to go along with the plan, and surprised Republican critics of the law by undercutting some of their arguments against it. Insurers, appearing before a panel of the Energy and Commerce Committee, testified that the law had not led to a government takeover of their industry, as some Republicans had predicted. Indeed, several insurers said their stock prices had increased in the last few years. The executives also declined to endorse Republican predictions of a sharp increase in insurance premiums next year, saying they did not have enough data or experience to forecast prices." ....
... CW: The GOP committee members' apparent surprise at the execs' testimony is an indicator that the bubbleheads actually do live in a bubble. They believe their own fake talking points. ..
... Jonathan Chait recaps "some of the predictions made by the critics [of ObamaCare] that have taken a factual beating.... They still have many predictions of doom that cannot be falsified for years and years to come.... But if they truly believe the arguments they have made -- that the law not only should not but cannot work -- shouldn't they be expressing, at minimum, some serious doubts?"
Edward Wyatt of the New York Times: "A Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission called Wednesday on the agency's chairman [Tom Wheeler ]to delay a proposal for new net neutrality rules, throwing into doubt whether the chairman will be able to muster enough votes at an F.C.C. meeting next week to issue proposed rules. Jessica Rosenworcel, one of three Democrats on the five-member commission, said in a speech Wednesday that a delay was warranted because of a 'torrent of public response' to the idea that the commission's rules might create a fast lane on the Internet for companies willing to pay for it."
Digby, in Salon, on one effect of open carry laws: "... in the wake of the new Georgia law that pretty much makes it legal to carry deadly weapons at all times in all places, parents were alarmed when an armed man showed up at the park where their kids were playing little league baseball and waved his gun around shouting, 'Look at my gun!' and 'There's nothing you can do about it.' The police were called and when they arrived they found the man had broken no laws and was perfectly within his rights to do what he did.... Common sense tells anyone that a man waving a gun around in public is dangerous so the parents had no choice but to leave the park. Freedom for the man with the gun trumps freedom for the parents of kids who feel endangered by him.
... CW: The majority of the Supremes may declare these open-carry laws constitutional, but they clearly violate the central tenet of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independant, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness." Anyone who feels "free" to pursue his bliss while a guy is waving a gun in his face is as crazy as the gunman. A person without a gun is not "equal" to or "independent" from a loon with a loaded firearm. Too bad the Declaration carries no weight of law.
** Adam Weinstein of Gawker: "In all the furor over Tal Fortgang -- the privileged white Princeton freshman who wrote so passionately about how he's not a privileged white guy -- no one, not even the New York Times, noted that his post was made possible by a conservative group that bankrolls and grooms college kids for right-wing leadership."
Michael Schmidt of the New York Times: Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), who is in a difficult race for re-election, invited President Obama to visit the tornado-devastated town of Vilonia, despite Obama's unpopularity in Arkansas. "Mr. Pryor, a two-term incumbent, stood right behind Mr. Obama as he made his remarks, and the president made sure to point out the senator's leadership role in the tornado recovery efforts. He praised Mr. Pryor; Vilonia's mayor, James Firestone; and Gov. Mike Beebe and Representative Tim Griffin, for being 'hands-on, on the ground throughout these difficult days.'"
Lisa Desjardins of CNN: " The election-year attention on women lands directly on the House floor Wednesday, after Republican leaders decided to allow a vote on a National Women's History Museum, changing their approach to the issue. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of New York, has pushed the idea of a national women's museum for over 17 years. Her bill to trigger the first step, a museum commission, has passed the House and Senate before, but during separate sessions of Congress. In each case a Democratic majority in one chamber approved the museum commission but Republicans in the other blocked it.... Maloney is quick to credit her bipartisan cosponsor, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, who personally made the case for the museum to key GOP leaders in the House." CW: Turns out Blackburn is good for something, even if it is any election-year ploy.
Gail Collins: often their gone-viral videos outlast the candidates. Collins reprises several outrageous campaign videos, but concentrates on this one, which I've embedded before:
... Afterword. (By Collins): "Winteregg's employer, a conservative Christian college in Cedarville, Ohio, was not amused and fired him from his job as adjunct professor of French. It's always unfortunate when educators get punished for their outside political activities. On the other hand, I believe I speak for all of us who have been adjunct professors when I say it's unlikely that we are talking about losing a living wage."
Annals of American Journalism, Ctd.
Jonathan Cohn demonstrates once again that if your only source of news is the Right Wing World Gazette, you will be ignorant.
Joe Strupp of Media Matters: "News veterans and journalism ethicists are urging CBS News to reopen the investigation into the discredited 60 Minutes Benghazi report following new questions about correspondent Lara Logan's actions and concerns that an earlier internal review did not do enough to reveal all the facts.... This week, New York magazine uncovered [also linked on the Commentariat a few days ago] new internal details about the report and how it got on air, several of which were inconsistent with what was found in CBS' internal review.... According to New York, Logan relied heavily on a highly partisan source, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, when crafting her report, while internal CBS office politics allowed the story to air without standard vetting - neither of which were disclosed by the initial internal review."
Eating Their Young. Amanda Marcotte in Salon: Over there at Fox "News," where the median-age viewer is 68 (great demographic), the new "war" is a war on young people. It seems -- for the first time in history! -- the kids are going on spring break where they wear skimpy bathing suits, get drunk & have sex. Tut, tut and tut.
Peas in a Pod. Chris Christie, who chairs the Republican Governors Association, traveled to Maine today to stump for Gov. Paul LePage. Christie promised to spend big for LePage, who is in a three-way race. Mario Maretto of the Bangor Daily News: "Democrats on Wednesday agreed LePage and Christie were cut from the same cloth. 'They both claim to be straight talkers who tell it how they see it, but as we've all learned the hard way, they're masters of the absurd tirade, which have embarrassed the people of their states,' [Vermont Gov. Peter] Shumlin[, head of the Democratic Governors Association,] said during a conference call with reporters. Shumlin and the Democratic Governors Association highlighted LePage's record of inflammatory comments and notable controversies ... including when he called the IRS the 'new Gestapo' and told the NAACP they could 'kiss my butt,' as well as a document-shredding scandal at the state Center for Disease Control."
Philip Elliott of the AP: "The Republican National Committee wants to take more control over how the party picks a White House nominee. The RNC was to meet Wednesday in Memphis, Tennessee, to choose members who will effectively set the calendar for 2016's long list of potential presidential contenders. If the party's chairman, Reince Priebus gets his way, the GOP will pick its nominee more quickly than during past contests and have fewer debates in which candidates could criticize each other. The RNC also was expected to put penalties in place for candidates who don't follow the committee's plans."
Beyond the Beltway
... Whitewash Is Expensive. Michael Barbaro of the New York Times: "The cost to New Jersey taxpayers for Gov. Chris Christie's internal inquiry into lane closings at the George Washington Bridge is likely to reach several million dollars, outpacing early estimates and touching off urgent attempts to reduce the cost, according to newly available documents and interviews."
Patrick Marley, et al., of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "After 24 hours of legal maneuvering in a politically charged investigation of Gov. Scott Walker and his allies, an appeals court late Wednesday handed prosecutors a victory, preventing for now the destruction of evidence from the case. The three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago stayed U.S. District Court Rudolph Randa's preliminary injunction from Tuesday stopping the John Doe investigation, saying he had overstepped his authority. The appeals court ruling also said Randa cannot order prosecutors to destroy evidence they have collected in the five-county probe."
Washington Post: "Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine vowed Thursday to press ahead with a referendum on independence, defying Russian President Vladimir Putin's surprise call for Sunday's vote to be postponed."
Guardian: "A majority of the jurors who this week convicted [Cecily McMillan,] an Occupy Wall Street activist, of assaulting a New York police officer have asked the judge in her case to not send her to prison."